I read an article recently that has me thinking about the ways we label ourselves, and in so doing divide ourselves. Perhaps it is time for a different approach.
We’ve all seen the strings of letters. LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQQIA, LGBTQQIP2SAA, and so on. The letters stand for a variety of terms that represent sexualities and genders.
- L: Lesbian
- G: Gay
- B: Bisexual
- T: Transgender, transsexual, and two-spirit
- Q: Queer and questioning
There are additional terms that have come into use more recently:
- QQ: Questioning and queer
- I: Intersex
- P: Pansexual
- 2S: Two-spirit
- A: Asexual
- A: Ally (a person who is not LGBTQ but supports LGBTQ persons)
The list above is actually quite incomplete. Kate Bornstein lists 200 sexualities and genders in “My New Gender Workbook”, and has found over 750 in use online.
The proliferation of identities is very useful for folks left out of the mainstream handful of identities in the acronyms. However, trying to expand the acronym becomes unwieldy, and unfortunately signals the further partitioning of our little community into smaller and smaller factions.
We are a small population of gender variant folks adrift on a life raft in a sea of heteronormative cisgender folks. Must we start sawing our raft into ever smaller pieces?
I’m not even sure which piece I should cling to, as an older woman, attracted to femme presentation, who got this way by being a transgender person. Women tell me I am not a “real woman”. Lesbians tell me I am not a lesbian. Transgender persons tell me I am not trans enough, or am a transsexual and not transgender.
As we sift our communities members through ever smaller labeling screens some of us will fall through the gaps.
I know who I am. I am me, I am queer, and I am here. I support all of my Queer family, in the broadest sense, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, fluid, asexual, agender, two spirit, demi, aromantic, intersex, mux, or the hundreds of other variations of folks that don’t conform to cultural gender and sexual normative models.
We are Q.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/576388/ Jonathan Rauch, It’s Time to Drop the ‘LGBT’ From ‘LGBTQ’, Jan/Feb 2019, The Atlantic